Television News: The Big Apple Edition

Every day is different and surprising in the news business.  One day, you’re interviewing a NY Knicks legend, the next day, you’re talking with a NYC mayoral candidate and, the following day, you’re questioning people on the street about the election of Pope Francis.  I am a NY1 News Assistant for the Local Edition, covering stories in Queens, Staten Island and Northern NJ.

Pic with Knicks great Larry Johnson and Councilman Comrie

The alarm goes off around 6:30 a.m.  I call in to see what’s on the list for the day.  Based on my schedule, I normally know which borough or community I will be covering.   Sometimes, there are already a couple events to attend and, other times, I get in early, head to the bureau and wait for a story.

My job is to put together something the broadcast industry calls a VO/SOT.  A VO/SOT is a technical term where VO stands for video and SOT stands for sound on tape, or an interview.  Each VO/SOT is about 40 seconds to a minute.  A VO/SOT begins with a sentence or two spoken by the anchor on camera and cuts to video while the anchor continues to read about two sentences.  Then, the control room cuts to the interviews.  The final section is a couple sentences to wrap up the piece with video accompanied by the anchor’s voice.  I’ve even put together a few packages about area events, including a Clothing Drive for Sandy victims and a Palm Sunday service followed by an Easter egg hunt.

In just one month’s time, I have driven almost every bridge and tunnel around NYC and NJ.  I’ve covered stories dealing with the renovations following Sandy, education news, the city wide bus strike and stories affecting local communities, such as the installation of a traffic bumper to keep a street safe nearby the Long Island Expressway.  One of my favorite stories was covering a basketball clinic for middle school students in Jamaica, Queens, led by Knicks great Larry Johnson.

In between the interviews and getting video of all of the drills, I was able to request a picture with the former player, along with Councilman Comrie, who helped make the afternoon possible.  Another story I really enjoyed was the St. Patrick’s Day for All Parade.  As a one-man-band, I ran around with my 30-pound gear getting interviews with organizers, parade participants such as the bagpipe group and parade goers decked out in shamrocks and face paint.After gathering all of the elements at any event or scene, I then head back to the bureau assigned to the area I’m covering to create the story.  One of the reasons I love my position with NY1 is the experience of writing and choosing the best parts of each interview to make the segment interesting and informative.

A journalist must be concise yet clear.  There is always something else to include, but our job is to make the story simple enough so a resident multi-tasking in today’s world will be able to understand what’s happening in his or her neighborhood or borough.

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